Well-known classical singer Shubha Mudgal has alleged that she was heckled by a supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the United States over the weekend. The incident occurred on Saturday, just before she was to perform at the Sunnyvale Temple in California.
In a letter circulated by Sahmat, an artists' platform for the defence of cultural freedom, on Monday, Mudgal said that her heckler, an office-bearer of the temple, had accosted her just before the
performance and accused her of having written an "anti-Modi, anti-Hindu and anti-national letter to Manmohan Singh".
He made physically intimidating gestures and shouted at her that he would not tolerate such activity, after which Mudgal, Bombay Jayshri and the other artists threatened to walk out of the concert. But they relented when they realised that the concert was sold out, and the organisers assured them of better security measures.
Sahmat, set up in memory of theatre activist Safdar Hashmi who was killed during a street play performance in 1989, has been the leading voice of liberal dissent against Modi all through the run-up to the 2014 general election. They had, in early May, sent out a letter condemning Modi's remarks about sending back Bangladeshi 'infiltrators'. In late April, Shabnam Hashmi, Safdar's sister and a member of Sahmat, had alleged that she and her associate had been beaten up by BJP 'hoodlums' in Rae Bareili constituency where she was distributing leaflets.